A Diachronic Account of French Loanwords in English

Topics: French language, English language, England Pages: 16 (3070 words) Published: December 19, 2011
French loanwords in English

A diaphronic account of

---l

Contents

Introduction 1. llistorical Background 1.l. 106ó-1204.. r.2. t204-1500 ........ 1.3. 15001.4. Conclusion........ 2. Examples of French loanwords 2.1. GovernmentandAdministration ...... 2.2.1-aw 2.3. Army 2.4. Church 2.5. ScienceandArt... 2.6. Fashion and Social Life ...... 2.7. Cuisine 2.8. French loanwords and their native equivale,nts 3. Modifications ...... 3.1. Spellingmodification 3.2. Semantic shift 3.3. Adaptation versus resistance Conclusion Bibliography SummaryinPolish

..................4
.............6
..'...........6

........7
........10 .....10 ......12

.............12
.......13 ............14 ..........15 ........,16 ........17

..........18
... ...

............19

.............21
..............21

.................22
......Ż5

..........Ż6 .................27 ..........29

Introduction
The speakers of English are not always aware of the fact that the language they speak is constifuted by almost as many words of foreign origrn as the native words.

English contains words from Greek, German, Dutch, Scandinavian languages and even Italian. But the cardinal sources of words of foreign descent in English arę Latin and French; the latter berng the main subject of this papęr. One who has ever had any

contact with both English and French might have been misled by the strong resemblance in their vocabulary to think that the two are ręlated. However, this is a false statement, as the words of French origin appeared in English only at some point

of the history. This phenomenon of adopting new words from other languages is refęrred to as borrowing and a single word that originates from a given language and

is adopted by another language is defined as a loanword or a borrowing. What is important is thę rolę of borrowing in the process of enriching English vocabulary. As Terttu Nevalainen writes:

The role of borrowing as one of the principal means of
enriching Early Modern English is clearly borne out by the
data. About 60 per cent of the new words recorded for 1604

come from Latin and French, whereas native Germanic
patterns of word-formation only covęr somę 20 per cent
the new words. (Nevalainen, 2006:5 1).

of

This clearly confirms the importance of borrowing and leads to conclusion that it is

the principal source of new words
language.

in English.

Theręfore, this thesis shall be

concemed with the analysis of the French loanwords that occur in the English

A

precise analysis of the Fręrrch loanwords

is quite problematic due to

two

factors. Firstly, a major obstacle is defining whethęr a given loanword derives from

French or Latin. Both these languages belong to the same language family and both had a significant influence on English which makes it diffrcult to distinguish between

loanwords that camę directly from Latin or from Latin through French or directly from French. Moreover, English may have borrowed a word from French which had earlier been borrowed by Fręnch from yet another language. Another problematic

issue is defining the exact time of the first appearance of a given loanword in

English.

By

analyzing historical texts it may be concluded when a given word

appeared for the first time. However, it has to be taken into consideration that such texts are not a reliable source of information. This is because there me fewer sources

available from the early centuries than, for instanceo from the eighteenth century. Additionally, a given word might have appeared many years before it was written anywhere.

This paper is divided into three chapters, each of which has subdivisions. The first chapter contains the overvięw of the historical background which was the key factor that influenced the language. It focuses on the mutual history of England and France.

The second chapter offers a multitude of examples of French words which...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Account Essay
  • english Essay
  • Essay about English
  • Essay about english
  • Essay about English
  • english Essay
  • ACCOUNT Essay
  • Essay about account

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free